June 16, 2015 marks the 40th Anniversary of Fager's Island restaurant and bar on 60th street in Ocean City, MD. The actual celebration party is scheduled for that Tuesday night but there will be several other specials and promotions leading up to that event. If you were lucky enough to purchase one of the now sold-out "Beer Bash" cards (40 beers for 40 bucks) you know this is going to be quite a year.
The next idea is based on The Island's original hand written menu from the mid 70's. Beginning the last week of April and continuing until mid-June a different item from that original menu will be offered at its original price each week Sunday-Thursday in the fine dining rooms. Additionally there will be limited edition t-shirts and stickers and even a special 40th anniversary beer which is being brewed and canned by Union Craft Brewing.
The official anniversary party is scheduled for Tuesday June 16, 2015 from 4-10pm and will feature a pig roast, local craft beers on tap and live entertainment by The Klassix.
Featuring: Old School Pig Roast with $4 pig roast platters from 3-6pm or until its gone. Island Rum Punch Bar with $4 Island Rum Punch
Entertainment by: Reggae Band 3-6pm, The Klassix 6-10pm, Hosted by DJ Batman, DJ Hook 10pm-close
As a Baltimore native, multiple summer trips to Ocean City was a tradition for my family. From the time I was 16, through high school and college, I worked in Ocean City every summer.
By the late 60's, I had owned and operated two fairly successful businesses-The Classroom in Baltimore and the Purple Moose in Ocean City. I eventually sold both of these to embark on a new career in real estate. At that time, the real estate market was booming in Ocean City and it seemed like everyone was making a fortune.
When Ocean Pines started to develop, I was a dirt salesman and sold lots. I also built a few condos and bought and sold some other properties. As this progressed, I discovered a beautiful 2 acre site on the bay at 60th street. I knew this was the perfect spot to build 44 townhouses. As luck would have it, just as we were about to begin construction, the real estate market topped out. Almost everyone in the industry, from the high-rises to the small contractors and many of my friends, went completely broke.
Somehow, I was able to divest myself of most of my meager holdings and found a way to hold on to that little island. As 1975 approached, I was feeling the pain of mortgage payments and tax assessments. My savings were eroding and I had few assets. It was time to create some sort of cash flow.
My short-term plan was to build a small BAR on pilings with the hope that once the real estate market revived, I would simply cut the pilings, move the building and construct the townhouses.
Charles Holland (from whom I purchased the land), held the mortgage. In order to finance the building of the bar, I had to put the land up as collateral. Mr. Holland was 'old Ocean City' and most likely skeptical of this young guy from Baltimore. But, he had enough faith in me to do what almost no land owner would do, he agreed to subordinate the land to C.B. Taylor Bank so I could get the loan to build my bar.
It was an ambitious undertaking, unproven and very underfunded. I cannot even begin to list all of the people who helped me. Without them, the island would have not become a reality. My dad use to say, " that island is a miracle", and it was.
I had a list of potential names, none of which I really liked. From the time I made the first down payment on the land in 1972, everyone joked, 'Fager bought an Island'! The gang implored me to call it Fager's Island, and we did.
Back in 1975, Ocean City was still a small community where everyone knew everyone. When we opened on June 16th of that year, we had a big crowd of customers eager to check out this new place. They approved of our BAR and the idea of building town houses was forever put to rest.
- JOHN FAGER